New Project Reveal – Part 3: The Main Character

Hello gentle reader,

this week again I’m taking part in the Tursday’s Children meme hosted by Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez. It is “a weekly blog hop where writers come together to talk about whatever inspires them.”


In these posts, I share a little bit more about what I’ve been working on, a YA Historical Fantasy nicknamed Secret WIP. Two weeks ago the first part of this “Project Reveal” was all about Setting. Last week I talked about films that inspired me to write this story.

Today’s theme is : MAIN CHARACTER.

My novel takes place in London in 1862. The main character is Lily, a sixteen-year-old flower girl who lives in Whitechapel, likes books and tends to get into trouble.

Augustus Edwin Mulready - A street flower seller

Augustus Edwin Mulready – A street flower seller (oil on canvas, 1882)

In Victorian London, flower girls were a very common sight. Instead of having to go to the market or a nursery garden, people who wanted to buy flowers simply had to go to any street corner in London and find the nearest flower girl.

Lily has honey blond hair and for various reasons, she dresses well above her social status. I’m having fun researching Victorian clothing for this novel!


You may know I like to base my characters off actors to help me describe them physically. When it comes to Lily, I’ve been keeping Emily Browning in mind: not to tall, not too strong-looking, halfway between innocence and sadness…


The last important detail to know about Lily is that within the first pages of the story, she becomes almost deaf. I find writing a character with a disability very interesting and challenging. Here I thought writing a novel in the first person from the point of view of someone who can’t hear would be challenging enough…

So what inspires you to create characters out of thin air and flesh them out? Feel free to leave me a comment below, and to visit the other Thursday’s Children posts here. And come back next week for the 4th and last post in this New Project Reveal series, in which I will tell you all about the Plot and the Title of my Secret WIP…!

21 thoughts on “New Project Reveal – Part 3: The Main Character

  1. Kate Michael says:

    The more you tease, the more eager I am to read this book!! I’m already in love with Lily 🙂 My characters are usually a mesh of people I know, but sometimes they just come out of nowhere, fully formed in a way that shocks me. It’s very interesting. LOVE your pictures (as always!)

  2. Lauren Garafalo says:

    I’m so ready to meet Lily 😀 Really intrigued to see what interesting things you do with dialogue!

  3. sugaropal says:

    One of my MCs was inspired by a girl at a breakfast place who was seated a few tables over from me. She was artsy and different looking and I thought – I bet she’s got an interesting story… But usually my MCs are not based on anyone real per se, though my secondary characters often are. Sounds like a fascinating book you’re writing!

  4. He he he he, I feel so sneaky because I know the title already! I feel like I have VIP status or something. BUT Lily lives in Whitechapel…like THE Whitechapel…where Jack the Ripper killed all his victims a mere twenty years later!!! He was probably around when Lily was around. I just got so much more creeped out by your story!

  5. kathils says:

    That’s quite a challenge you’ve set for yourself! Can’t wait to find out more about where you’re taking this.

  6. Wow, love this – sounds amazing! And writing a near-deaf MC? Just wow. I totally want to read this! My characters start more with story in mind and then evolve and unfurl from there. Great post!

  7. This series is wonderful because it is such a teaser for the book (I’m so glad you write much faster than me)! I love the pictures too – especially the Mulready. Great setting and interesting sounding character.

  8. Awesome! And I think her impairment is a really interesting challenge for you as a writer. Other than how it impacts the plot and her interaction with other characters, I wonder how it impacts the dialogue, especially in a first person POV? Does she hear everything that’s said? Does she miss out on certain things that we miss out on too?

    Thanks for sharing!

    • EM Castellan says:

      Excellent question, and yes, her disability makes her an unreliable narrator, which is very fun to write 😉 She misses parts of or whole conversation, and can’t rely on her hearing to know what’s coming behind her in the dark… Enough said, don’t you think?

  9. christineallenriley says:

    I get more drawn into this story every time you post! It sounds absolutely amazing! For my main characters, they’re usually pretty fully formed when they pop into my head. My secondary characters are more likely to have hints of people I know. 🙂

  10. Wow! I can’t wait to read this book!

  11. Stacey says:

    Sounds like a book I’d want to read. Lmk if you find a good book on Victorian dress (with lots of pictures). 🙂

  12. I love to make character bibles, too. I always start with hair and eye color (because I’m a pretty concrete thinker) and then the other physical characteristics go from there.

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